letting my freak flag fly

so I have this new supervisor and I feel like she can see straight into my soul.  she’s an adorable little lady, probably in her late 60s/early 70s, black woman with close cropped salt-n-pepper natural hair.  she’s been doing therapy for so fucking long, she can read people like magic.  I seriously asked her if she was magic when she asked my client whether she had a fear of elevators, closed spaces, bridges (she was right). 

most people who meet me remark at how calm I am, what a comforting presence… do you ever get angry?  but I can be very tightly wound under the surface, I have some control issues, and have some situational anxiety.  I send a lot of work emails.  yeah, i’m that girl. 

so she’s way more hands on, more of a mentor, gives me critique than any other supervisor I have had as a therapist.  today she told me I was being difficult.  I was wavering about whether to cancel some clients to attend a planning meeting in our other location and she called me on it.  it took me a good hour to process being called difficult.  aren’t I the people pleaser, the perfect one?   but at the same time, part of it made me feel good!

over the past week or so, she has told me a couple of times to let my worries drift over me, don’t get attached to the anxiety, relax into it and let it flow away.  I think it has taken me that long to really begin to hear it.  something about the way she can see through my nonsense is making me boil over with freakishness.  in the middle of this meeting today, I told her, “you’re more hands on than any manager we’ve had since I’ve been here.  I really appreciate it and it’s very challenging.”  we all laughed about that.  I then went on, “everyone thinks i’m so calm, but i’m totally anxious and controlling underneath this exterior!” 

she affirmed both sides.  “the calmness makes you a good therapist, very comforting and safe and approachable.  but you can’t be calm all the time.”  god, that’s so good to hear.  she’s giving me permission to have the both/and while remaining an acceptable human being.  I’ve got a tattoo on my wrist that reads, the courage to be imperfect.  it’s there for good reason!  I can’t believe how many times I have to learn the lesson that it’s ok to be exactly who I am, without sugar coating or apologies.  it’s ok to be a dichotomy.  being reprimanded for being difficult would’ve sent me into a full-on, no turning back, shut down fit in the past.  i’m happy to be able to just accept it and move on today. 

both. 

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